BY SAM AMADEO
This past year, I have come to believe in the saying, “Only the good die young.” While we have seen many young icons pass away this year, the most dramatic of all for me was the passing of Mac Miller one week ago. While Mac never received any Grammy awards nor were any of his albums met with critical acclaim, he was, subjectively, a legend.
His music had a great influence on myself, my friends and many people my age. Discussing his passing with my brother, he said, “Mac’s trajectory as a musician and what he chose to rap about followed my life almost exactly.”
I believe that statement is true for numerous young people who enjoyed his music. In memoriam — a statement I didn’t think I would have to use for Mac for a long time — let’s take a look at this hip-hop star’s short, evolving career.
Mac Miller’s musical career could extend as far back as he learned how to speak, showing great passion and talent for singing at a young age. His “professional” music career can arguably said to be started in 2004; however, it wasn’t until 2011 that he released his first full-length album, Blue Slide Park. His debut album was not received well by critics and Miller said later that the negative reviews led to his substance abuse problems, which would persist until the end of his life.
Yet, Miller knew his life was music, so instead of giving up, he returned the following year with a mixtape titled, Macadelic. This mixtape showed a Miller who had heard his critics and was working to change his music from “bubble-gum pot rap” into something more artistic and beautiful. These changes were cemented and glorified when Miller dropped his second album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, in 2013 to much better reviews.
Miller continued his musical evolution, releasing two more albums in 2015 and 2016, GO:OD AM and The Divine Feminine, respectively. While neither of these albums were met with critical acclaim, they both showed a Miller who was as vivacious as he was deep.
Miller was dating the talented Ariana Grande until earlier this year in May. Grande broke off their relationship after two years together. A week later, Miller was charged with a DUI with off the charts blood alcohol levels, then he disappeared.
After a month, Miller flew back onto the scene in July, releasing three singles and announcing he would release his fifth studio album, Swimming, in early August. Many speculated this album would be the polar opposite of his previous romance album and would show Miller’s softer side after such tragic heartbreak. In his final album, while alive, Miller showed the world how at ease he truly was. He was okay with Ariana, fine knowing his music was not loved by all and comfortable with his personal issues (i.e. his excessive substance abuse). While many gave their own opinions surrounding Miller’s sudden death and the meaning of his last album, I will now give my own, briefly.
In Swimming, Mac Miller tells his fans and the world the true meaning of ‘chilling’. He understands that life means suffering and there will always be rough roads ahead, but he says to take it all in with an easy breath and smile. Whatever happens, Miller will be okay with it, because he will always have his music, his true love, to fall back on and vent to and express his feelings with. Miller did not die sad, hopeless or alone. Miller died at peace with much love in his heart.